FAYETTEVILLE, GEORGIA – JULY 12: J.R. Smith (center) poses with guests during the Toyota Tundra presents “HBCU’s Rising” with J.R. Smith on July 12, 2022 at The Dottie at Triumph Station in Fayetteville, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Toyota North America)

On Tuesday, UNINTERRUPTED partnered with Toyota to debut “HBCU’s Rising,” a mini-documentary that showcases former NBA player J.R. Smith, and his transition from professional basketball player to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) student-athlete. UNINTERRUPTED is a Sports Emmy winning athlete empowerment media, experiences and consumer product brand that is part of The SpringHill Company, the media conglomerate spearheaded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter with the mission to empower greatness in every individual.

Approximately 200 people gathered at the Dottie at Triumph Station in Fayetteville, Georgia, to watch the four-part series that gives insight into Smith’s scholastic and athletic endeavors at North Carolina A&T University, located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Smith, a two-time NBA World Champion, said that his matriculation to North Carolina A&T was rooted in those intangibles traditionally associated with HBCUs: history, honor, respect and a shared sense of cultural values.

“When I was growing up, I was more of an athlete, so I deferred to the Dukes and the North Carolinas and those situations,” Smith said. “I really want to shed light on how great and spectacular HBCUS are.”

“HBCU’s Rising” follows Smith during his time on campus, and captures his interaction with other students, staff and administrators. A common theme throughout the documentary is “Aggie Pride,” and what that phrase means to those associated with the university.

FAYETTEVILLE, GEORGIA – JULY 12: J.R. Smith (C) poses with members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. during Toyota Tundra presents “HBCU’s Rising” with J.R. Smith on July 12, 2022 at The Dottie at Triumph Station in Fayetteville, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Toyota North America)

The short film also delves into the athletic excellence that North Carolina A&T has developed a reputation for. Last year, Aggies Trevor Stewart and Randolph Ross Jr. won gold medals for the United States’ track and field team in the men’s 4×400 meter relay, the first HBCU athletes to ever do so. Both men also won NCAA national titles in the same event leading up to the Olympics. And now, the golf team features Smith, a one-time NBA Sixth Man of The Year recipient, and a former NBA player that has won championships with LeBron James on two different teams – the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers.

“HBCU’s Rising” focuses on a number of topics related to life at the HBCU, including membership in fraternities and sororities, and the hotly contested “Greatest Homecoming on Earth” claims.

Smith has called his time at North Carolina A&T “amazing.” Recently, Smith was awarded North Carolina A&T’s Academic Athlete of the Year, after posting a 4.0 GPA.

Along with continuing to strive for his own academic and athletic greatness, Smith sees “HBCU’s Rising “as a significant opportunity to further ramp of awareness of HBCUs.

“I want young 5-star basketball players, football players, athletes… to start coming to HBCUs,” he said. “Also, I want [students] taking school more seriously, [and] understanding the lineage and history of these schools, and how important it is. Our leaders and people we look up to…came from HBCUs.”

“HBCU’s Rising” can be viewed via UNINTERRUPTED’s YouTube channel.